Back In?

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I may have mis-timed my retirement. I’d been planning to retire at 62.
I divested responsibilities to colleagues and have cut back the number
of projects I am involved in, and generally worked hard to ensure that
the organization will not suffer when I go. I haven’t been specific, but I
have let the management know I am planning to cut back. I don’t
think they know I meant to zero, but any sign of disloyalty would
count against me in the wage and bonus talks the firm is having. I
have worked here so long I don’t think the big-wigs think they can
function without me but I am expensive compared to the young ones.
Now, with the shift in the economy, I am thinking I need to work
longer, maybe even another year or two. How do I
Back In?

Dear Back In:
The most important information in your question is the bigwigs’
reliance on you. Though being perceived as indispensible is not a
guarantee of continued employment, it’s a better insurance policy than

How to stay? Take on important, revenue-generating, strategic
planning projects to help your company cope with whatever impacts
the recession has imposed. Look at efficiency cost containment,
staffing overhauls, marketing to new clients. Any initiative you can
spearhead can help bring money into the corporate coffers keeps you
welcome. If asked why you’ve divested other responsibilities, say
younger line staff can perform those, but it takes a knowledgeable old-
timer who really knows the company, its products, and its markets to
do the kind of big-think that’s needed. Say you’re considering retiring
in a few years and you’ll work with them to plan for that. But that time
isn’t now. I doubt they’ll contradict you. If they do, there’s always
unemployment or consulting to their competitors. That threat alone
should make them want to keep you as long as you want to stay.